Enclosures

Enclosure hardware from FDB Panel Fittings for electronic equipment

6th January 2022
Kiera Sowery

FDB Panel Fittings has noticed that in the past 30 years, electronic devices have almost completely replaced electrical controls and yet the type and style of housing have remained constant.

From small boxes, desktop cases, and wall-mounted enclosures to complete suites of cabinets primarily in steel and stainless steel they have all required locks, hinges, fasteners, gaskets. For research, development, pharmaceutical production, instrumentation and controls for motors, machines and systems, all our weighing, sorting, processing, controls for other machines and equipment is done with electronics housed in purpose-designed enclosures of some kind.

Looking at housings for these electronic assemblies the trend has been that security needs have grown to accommodate the more sophisticated controls and their associated risk of data theft, which has become a factor with digital equipment that simply was not there in the past. In addition, the internal equipment itself is more vulnerable to physical damage from unauthorised access, so that today there is a greater need than ever for small quarter turns, special coded locks or keys, concealed hinges, gasket profiles in small sections for boxes and small enclosures, or in large sections for bigger cabinets.

Standard hardware for boxes, cases, desktop equipment, wall mount enclosures, free-standing and desk mounted control panels has been developed over time to meet these needs, and a whole marketplace of quite specialist but yet standard and ex-stock hardware has grown up. This is a marketplace that adjusts quickly to panel manufacturer/installer needs to facilitate the production of equipment such as graphic instrumentation panels, electronic pump controls, specialist panels for industrial controls and motor control centres. Often this adaptation is accomplished with simple modifications to established designs to create a custom variant that can readily be achieved through your supplier/manufacturer.

It is especially in the area of large 19in data racks and cabinets where Mechatronic locking swinghandles are growing in popularity and where sophisticated simple components like ¼ turn pop up fasteners are called for example, on removable front panels to make installation and removal so much quicker than previously.

Electronic systems are found everywhere and each installation calls for a protective housing with suitable hardware – from stainless steel oil rig panels to railway rolling stock and locomotive or line-side control boxes. There are rugged specialist standard products available ex-stock designed for the purpose. Likewise, specialist vehicles for recycling, or emergency services such as police, fire, ambulances, chemical plants, sewage processing systems, controls for stores, warehouses and distribution centres for things like chillers and H&V installations, gas heating controls.

Simple locking systems include IP65 three-digit combination quarter-turn lock or IP65 cylinder quarter-turn locks with finger pull or dust cover. Common in computer-related applications is the key-operated or push-button snap lock with cylinder style key for small housings while quarter-turn wing handles in black or chrome with or without cylinder lock are a common sight on small enclosures and housings.

Push-fit pin hinges like the concealed 120-degree SNAP-LINE are suitable for side panels of 19in racks and light-duty cabinets. Their compact clip-in design allows for an easy and quick installation and removal of the door. Larger weld-on/bolt-on concealed 120-degree hinges are offered for surface mounted doors. For larger doors and more arduous environments, there are AISI 316 Stainless steel external hinges with reverse stud fixing which offer 180 degree opening and are suitable for nested doors.

IP65 swinghandles in zinc die (black or chrome) or reinforced polyamide – suit 5 or 7 pin profile cylinders, combination lock or inserts. We are looking forward to the new E-LINE vandal-resistant electronic swinghandle range for the security of larger electronic cabinets in outdoor/public environments.

For easy lifting and manual transport, there are simple low-cost black polyamide bridge handles with through fixing - handles in moulded reinforced plastic or in steel to enable stainless steel (AISI 303) carry/bridge style handles with reverse fixings. IP65 recessed side mounting handles with positive grip D-SNAP technology allow easy lifting of electronic equipment.

An extensive range of gaskets is available on the market, along with customised sections based on a customer’s unique application needs. Depending on a customer’s requirements, manufacturers can provide gaskets made of PVC, EPDM, Neoprene, NBR, or a combination of foam rubber and PVC.

For example, many of the EPDM seals by FDB Panel Fittings sales partner DIRAK adhere to UL (Underwriters Laboratories) safety standards. This certification constitutes the basis for a final UL approval for the entire enclosure/cabinet and is increasingly useful as the UK gears up for growth in worldwide export markets.

In addition to standard self-locking door sealing profiles, insert profiles and rectangular self-adhesive sections, FDB offer edge protection designs and window glazing gasket. Where electromagnetic compatibility is necessary, they can also supply special profiles with EMC/RFI shielding in combination with water and dust sealing.

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